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“Celebrating

Marcell Bellinger And His Creative Procession

Marcel 1

PJP and The Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts [PAFA] collaborate on public programming in conjunction with the PAFA exhibition, Procession: The Art of Norman Lewis. Lewis, (1909-1979) a Black American, was a pivotal figure in American art, a participant in the Harlem art community, an innovator of Abstract Expressionism, and a politically-conscious activist whose work was often inspired by Jazz music and musicians. Acknowledging that creative connection, trumpeter and composer Marcell Bellinger will present two performances of new musical works commissioned by PJP and created in response to the visual art work of Norman Lewis. In addition, artists, musicians and thinkers will gather together to discuss how artists using one art form can inspire and stimulate the creative expression of artists using another art form.

 

More details and an interview with musician Marcell Bellinger below.

 

Jazz Events & Procession: The Art of Norman Lewis Exhibition

January, 20th 2016 - 7:00pm to 8:00pm
Gallery Concert: Marcell Bellinger Quartet


February 6, 2016 - 4:00pm
Auditorium Concert: Marcell Bellinger Ensemble

 

March 13, 2016 - 4:00pm
Jazz! Art! A Dialogue About Inspiration

Cost: All events free after museum admission. (Free to PAFA Members)

 

The Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts [PAFA]

118-128 North Broad Street
Philadelphia, PA 19102

 

For more info: Click Here

 

Marcell Bellinger, a native New Yorker and Temple University alum, studied under world-class trumpeter Terell Stafford. Bellinger is a band leader, arranger and composer who has had the opportunity to share the stage with many greats which include but are not limited to: Jerry Harris, Phil Woods, Randy Brecker, Charles McPhearson, Dave Liebman, Benny Golson, Urbie Green. Along with jazz performances, Bellinger has made several appearances with Jeff Bradshaw’s former R&B group Brass Heaven and a special performance with Chuck Brown and The Roots.


Now residing in Philadelphia, Bellinger is an instructor at the Philadelphia Clef Club of Jazz and Performing Arts and a Teaching Artist for Jazz House Kids. Nevertheless, Bellinger has a personal commitment to using the music that has made such a difference in his life to influence people—young or old--wherever he goes.

 

PJP spoke with Marcell Bellinger about his work and the challenge of composing new music to the visual art work of Norman Lewis.

 

PJP: Can you briefly describe your musical direction

 

Marcell Bellinger: My musical direction stems from studying what has come before and attempting to create something new. My musical direction also stems from the many experiences that I have had (both on and off of the bandstand). 

 

My approach to expressing myself with instruments is simple: I want to make my audience feel something. I want to feel something. I only desire to play what is on or in my heart. There is an intellectual component as well, however, my expression stems mostly from the things that I have in or around my heart. 

Marcell  2PJP: What and whom are pivotal musical influences on your creative approach? And tell us a little about the challenge of writing new music inspired by Norman Lewis' paintings.

 

Marcell Bellinger: My pivotal musical influences and approach vary from project to project. It is extremely important that I approach each project without any pre-conceived notions or ego. For a project such as this one, I had to do research. I had to get inside the head of Norman Lewis and approach the project from that aspect. I spent a great deal of time observing his paintings on display at PAFA as well as researching who Norman Lewis was as an artist.

 

Composing for a specific subject can be difficult, especially if you are not familiar with said subject. It is important to try to understand the subject from as many perspectives as possible. Once that is done, then one has to ask, "How does this relate to me?" "What affect does this/will this have on me?" "How is this relevant to my social environment?" "How can I take my discoveries and connect with the audience?" Once this investigation has a solid foundation, then the composition process can begin. Please keep in mind, during the composition process things, ideas, sketches for possible compositions are ALWAYS subject to change.

 

PJP: How do you manage the task of creating and encouraging fresh, new, forwarding moving musical ideas, while simultaneously exploring, celebrating and documenting the past?

 

Marcell Bellinger: One cannot move forward without a firm understanding of what came beforehand. Keeping this thought in mind, I keep things fresh by listening to jazz (and other world music) and trying out compositional ideas in my music laboratory. Inspiration comes from many different places.

 

Norman Lewis

PJP: When listening to your music, what advice would you give to audiences to assist with greater understanding and enjoyment?

 

Marcell Bellinger: The advice that I would give to people who listen to my music is to listen with an open mind and an open heart. Enjoy it for what it is and most importantly--be in the moment.

 

PJP: Why Jazz? When you could be doing anything else, why Jazz?

 

Marcell Bellinger: Why Jazz? Simply put, Jazz (listening, playing, composing etc.) has afforded me the ability and opportunity to experience music on a higher level. It has also led me to meet people that I probably would not have met at all. Lastly, Jazz is something worthy of learning and sharing with everybody.

 

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Jazz Events & Procession: The Art of Norman Lewis Exhibition

January, 20th 2016 - 7:00pm to 8:00pm
Gallery Concert: Marcell Bellinger Quartet


February 6, 2016 - 4:00pm
Auditorium Concert: Marcell Bellinger Ensemble

 

March 13, 2016 - 4:00pm
Jazz! Art! A Dialogue About Inspiration

Moderated by visual artist, Sherman Fleming.

 

Cost: All events free after museum admission. (Free to PAFA Members)

 

The Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts [PAFA]

118-128 North Broad Street
Philadelphia, PA 19102

 

For more info: Click Here


Photo Credits: Black and White photo-Bill Ecklund / Color Photo- Christopher Drukker

 

 

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“Celebrating

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